Second world war

Isolation forces us to work out what really matters

28 March 2020 9:00 am

In tough times, people often discover their dauntlessness

Riveting documentary about a remarkable man: Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War reviewed

28 March 2020 9:00 am

First shown on BBC Scotland, Harry Birrell Presents Films of Love and War (BBC4, Wednesday) was the documentary equivalent of…

Did Britain commit a war crime in Dresden? A conversation

7 February 2020 10:00 pm

A conversation between Sinclair McKay and A.N. Wilson

Understated, unashamedly patriotic and heartbreaking: The Windermere Children reviewed

1 February 2020 9:00 am

One of the many astonishing things about the BBC2 drama The Windermere Children (Monday) was that the real-life story it…

Two books that made me forget everything else

18 January 2020 9:00 am

Gstaad I’ve been hitting the books rather hard lately, the ritzy-glitzy crowd having gone the way of natural snow. There’s…

A soldier’s legacy: how a baby’s cry saved a family

21 December 2019 9:00 am

It was early evening on Sunday 6 August 1944. The Allies’ bloody struggle to liberate Normandy from the Nazis had…

A solid costume drama but Dame Helen has been miscast: Catherine the Great reviewed

5 October 2019 9:00 am

It’s possibly not a great sign of a Britain at ease with itself that the historical character most likely to…

Enjoyably contrived: BBC1’s Baptiste reviewed

23 February 2019 9:00 am

What’s the best way to start a six-part thriller? The answer, it seems, is to have a bloke of a…

Atravesty: Sky Atlantic's remake of Das Boot. Photo: Sky Germany / Nik Konietzny / Bavaria Fiction GmbH

Like getting Banksy to repaint the Sistine Chapel: Sky Atlantic’s Das Boot reviewed

16 February 2019 9:00 am

‘I know, let’s repaint the Sistine Chapel. But this time we’ll get it done by Banksy.’ Perhaps this wasn’t the…

The man who never cried

9 February 2019 9:00 am

It was odd listening to Jim Al-Khalili being interviewed on Radio 4 on Tuesday morning rather than the other way…

Joanna Murray-Smith as Patricia Highsmith in Switzerland at the Ambassadors Theatre. Photo: Robbie Jack/ Corbis via Getty Images

Intelligent, unfussy, literate – the West End needs more plays like this: Switzerland reviewed

1 December 2018 9:00 am

I know nothing about Patricia Highsmith. The acclaimed American author wrote the kind of Sunday-night crime thrillers that put me…

French President Emmanuel Macron during a wreath laying ceremony in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on November 11, 2017 during the Armistice Day commemorations marking the end of the first world war

France’s second world war shame

17 November 2018 9:00 am

The monument to this French village’s war dead is a plain white stone block with the head of a grizzled…

Colonel Claus Schenk Count von Stauffenberg

Hitler’s would-be assassins were, themselves, Nazi war criminals. Why celebrate them?

21 July 2018 9:00 am

On 20 July, Germany’s political elite recalls the day in 1944 when Colonel Claus Schenk Count von Stauffenberg exploded a…

The dumbing down of the Reith Lectures

30 June 2018 9:00 am

It’s been a heavyweight week on Radio 4 with the start of the annual series of Reith Lectures and a…

Were all those young lives lost at Normandy in vain?

2 June 2018 9:00 am

I’m back in New York and digesting the five glorious days spent in Normandy. What was the fighting all about,…

In praise of the Wehrmacht

19 May 2018 9:00 am

Omaha Beach, Normandy I am standing in a German cement bunker having walked through a large gaping hole caused by…

Premier performance: Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill

Andrew Roberts’s guide to Churchill on screen

13 January 2018 9:00 am

Gary Oldman has joined a long list of actors who have portrayed Winston Churchill — no fewer than 35 of…

A non-sniggering look at the latest developments in the lucrative sex-robot market

2 December 2017 9:00 am

This week on Channel 4, we watched a cheery 58-year-old American engineer called James going on a first date. He…

Cover illustration for the magazine Garm 1944, by Tove Jansson

A chance to see the Moomins’ creator for the genius she really was: Tove Janssons reviewed

18 November 2017 9:00 am

Tove Jansson, according to her niece’s husband, was a squirt in size and could rarely be persuaded to eat, preferring…

Rarely has the West End seen such a draining and nasty experience: The Exorcist reviewed

11 November 2017 9:00 am

The Exorcist opened in 1973 accompanied by much hoo-ha in the press. Scenes of panic, nausea and fainting were recorded…

Don’t believe the sales figures – DVDs are thriving

4 November 2017 9:00 am

According to the accountants’ ledgers, DVDs are dying. Sales of those shiny discs, along with their shinier sibling the Blu-ray,…

Narvik harbour, March 1940

Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat

21 October 2017 9:00 am

Lord Woolton put it best: ‘Few people have succeeded in obtaining such a public demand for their promotion as the…

Anthony Powell, by Henry Lamb (1934)

Of his time

30 September 2017 9:00 am

Great novelists come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing they all share is a status of half-belonging. If…

The evil that men do

5 August 2017 9:00 am

The first thing to say about Claudio Magris’s new novel is that it is, in an important sense, unreadable. There…

Festival time, Serbian style: playing the trumpet in Guca

Balkan brass

29 July 2017 9:00 am

When brass instruments with button-operated valves were introduced in the second half of the 19th century, music-making changed. Once requiring…